Thursday, March 26, 2009

Furniture Makeover

For the second time in my tenure as Chief Designer of our home, I have given - let's nicely term it - mature furniture a makeover. My first endeavor was to turn my childhood bedroom furniture (white with blue trim and stenciled flowers) in to a sophisticated guest bedroom set. 

For any of you who can remember this far back - before we sold our old house, we put our old bedroom set in to storage in place of our Restoration Hardware investment! Since we settled in to our new house - it was time to resurrect our old bedroom set and give it a facelift as a cost effective furniture solution for our toddler who is in desperate need of a big-boy bedroom! I'll save the details of decorating his new room for another post - but I will give you a step-by-step guide to turning old, scratched and mildly beat up furniture in to virtually brand new furniture!

Step 1: Fill in any scratches or gouges with wood filler. Allow to harden for at least 24 hours.

Step 2: Lightly sand furniture surfaces of wood (my hubby used 220 grit sand paper). Pay attention to areas where wood filler was used - sand these carefully. You shouldn't feel any difference in the wood where you have used filler when you run your fingers over it - it should be smooth perfection!

Step 3: Depending on your wood tone/color of furniture - apply 1 to 2 coats of primer. We used a grey primer for darker colors - since we painted the furniture a navy blue color. Allow to dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 4: Apply two coats of semi-gloss paint. A semi-gloss finish should be used to ensure durability and easy cleaning/wiping. Allow 24 hours for drying in between coats.

Step 5: And this one is controversial - Home Depot (and other paint shops) will tell you that a clear, top-coat is not necessary when using semi-gloss paint. They will even go so far as to say that it will cause you more trouble applying it than anything else. My husband is convinced that they don't recommend it because they don't sell it. Coincidence? I think not! Anyway, I used a coat of Minwax Polycrylic on top of the first set of furniture I refinished - and it not only gives the paint a nice sheen, but has protected that furniture against all chips and scratches. The last thing you want is for your furniture to chip, making it look cheap and unfinished. Even if it seems to be overkill, I highly recommend at least one well-applied coat of Polycrylic clear-coat. It doesn't even take as long as one coat of paint to apply - and will be well worth it to prevent against chips/scratches that can occur due to daily use. Refer to directions on can - allow to dry for 24 hours.
If your furniture was like mine, it has old - and somewhat ugly - drawer pulls/knobs. I went to Target and got a set of 20 for $20! It was a deal - and they look great on the furniture. TIP: New drawer pulls/knobs can do wonders just about anywhere! They could also be used on kitchen/bath cabinets to give a quick and inexpensive lift to an out-dated room.

Big-Boy Furniture complete!

Note long dresser in the above pic.

For more fun ways to makeover/enhance your home with paint, click here for Better Home & Garden's tips! I'm partial to their fabric makeover ideas and the chair back name cards! OH - and on page 13 - they DO recommend TWO coats of polyurethane be applied to painted furniture! Take that, Home Depot!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Window Furniture

The windows off the back of our house have been naked since we moved in. This wasn't too big of a problem when we moved in - until the leaves fell off the trees - giving our somewhat-distant-yet-close-enough neighbors a potential peek in to our lives in the evenings. Not to mention, the sun absolutely bakes our furniture around 1pm every day. Sooo, six to eight weeks ago I ordered plantation shutters for our family room, guest bath, and kitchen windows. They were installed yesterday! In the family room and guest bath, we did full panels. However, in the kitchen, we have a great view of our wooded back yard that I didn't want to completly eliminate. I opted for cafe-style shutters in the eating area - which are shutters that only go half-way up the window - allowing for privacy while the much wanted light still pours through.

Kitchen shutters below.

Family Room:

This truly is window furniture. Plantation shutters really give a room a finishing touch - very contemporary and streamlined, in my opinion - even though they are considered to be a somewhat traditional fixture. Call me crazy - but for some reason - and I could be imagining this - they make the areas that surround feel bigger. Is that due to the horizontal lines? The same way that horizontal stripes can make your hips and butt look big? I don't know - but I'm liking it!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Safe Haven

So, I took yet another online quiz at Better Homes & Gardens on what style bedroom is best for me. I've recently made a mistake in painting our bedroom - I was going for a khaki/coco color - and ended up with a color that was much too golden-tan. A perfectly fine color - but was not the shade I was aiming for. We have an upholstered, natural/cream colored bed - I was looking for a little drama of a darker coco color. So, I've settled on another color (that I love) called 'Hopsack' from Duron...we just haven't had the chance to repaint (my wonderful hubby has pledged to do so - he is eager for me to be happy with the bedroom - and to finally hang up our pics/wall art!) Hopsack is actually the same color that I painted on the back of our bookshelves in the living room....

But now that I've taken this quiz - I'm wondering if I shouldn't shoot for a restful, organic green color? Apparently the style bedroom for me is 'Safe Haven.' Which is no surprise - my bedroom needs to be a restful retreat for me and my husband to escape. I think I'll stick with the not-too-dark cocoa shade I've chosen to repaint...but read below for the results of my quiz!

Safe Haven

At the end of the day, you like to escape from the world (including the rest of the family!) to relax and recharge, and it sounds like your bedroom is your retreat of choice. With the hectic pace of life today, you're smart to carve out an area of serenity. To make the most of your getaway space, put in carpet that feels good on your feet, splurge on luxurious high thread count sheets, and invest in window treatments that will allow you to block out the light and noise of the world outside your window. When it comes to color, choose restful greens or blues for a peaceful feel. If space allows, add a comfy chair where you can sit to flip through the mail or read a good book. Treat yourself to a fabulous cashmere throw that you can curl up with when the weather turns cold. Surround yourself with other items you love, like favorite family photos, softly scented candles, and artwork you adore. Finally, hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door and let the relaxation begin.

Color Personality

So, I took an online quiz today at Better Homes & Garden's website. Turns out my personality color is yellow! And I used to have our master bedroom a yellow color - but now, a yellow-gold is an accent color in our house....BUT, I am getting ready to paint our guest bedroom a golden yellow color - so it makes sense! Yellow goes with many of the earthy colors - so it is quite versatile!

What is your color personality??

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Vampire Love

So...I completed my decorating classes to promptly be swept up in the rapture of teenage vampire love. I have recently become captivated by the Twilight saga written by Stephenie Meyer. This series of books has prompted me to top my all-time reading record set while traveling the London tube for a week (on business) between Glouchester Rd & Heathrow airport reading and completing the sixth Harry Potter book, The Half-Blood Prince, in five days. And this all while I put in an eight hour day at the office! I really miss my London trips - but I digress. Anyhoo, I completed the first book, Twilight, a little slower - in eight days. However, I finished Twilight on Sunday, began reading New Moon on Sunday afternoon - and then FINISHED New Moon on Monday (or Tuesday) at 1:30am! That is two days folks! AND, I worked a full day on Monday and didn't begin the book on Sunday until 4pm! THAT IS A RECORD. And I owe it all to my glorious, wonderful Edward Cullen. Be still my heart. (Honey, don't worry - I love you. And once I complete book 4, you'll have your wife back!)

I'm in the midst of Eclipse (book #3)...and probably should slow down! I don't want it to be over - there are only 4 books! So - what does it say about me that I cannot put down a book that is meant for teenagers??? Whatever! I still love Britney too! I shall embrace my inner tweenager that is bursting to get out!